Farah fireworks help shift focus from doping

Sat Aug 22, 2015 12:50pm EDT
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By Nick Mulvenney

BEIJING (Reuters) - Britain's Mo Farah put a difficult few months behind him to retain his 10,000 meters title in some style as the opening day of the world championships finally shifted the focus from the doping crisis in athletics on Saturday.

Even with the superstars of the sport taking center stage on the first of nine days of action at the Bird's Nest Stadium, however, there were some reminders of the troubles that have engulfed the sport over the last three weeks.

A few boos spilled down from the stands when convicted doper Justin Gatlin was introduced ahead of his 100 meters heat, which he won with the fastest time of the day to take a confident step towards Sunday's highly anticipated showdown with Usain Bolt.

Farah's brilliant victory was achieved despite almost being tripped up on the last lap and also by the disruption to his preparations for Beijing following doping allegations leveled at his coach Alberto Salazar. Salazar denies any wrongdoing.

"It hasn't been an easy year," said the Olympic champion, who will go for an unprecedented back-to-back 5,000-10,000 meters world championship double next Saturday.

"As an athlete, I let my running do my talking. I've just got to keep doing what I'm good at and that is running and winning medals for my country."

Farah was almost tripped by Kenyan Geoffrey Kamworor as the leaders rounded the first turn after the bell but somehow stayed on his feet to deliver his trademark finish over the final straight and cross the line in 27 minutes 01.13 seconds.

"I nearly went down but I managed to stay on my feet and win the race," said Farah. "The (Kenyans) worked as a team, so hats off to them, they tried something different and they really made it hard for me."   Continued...

Mo Farah of Britain holds the Union Jack flag as he celebrates winning the men's 10,000 metres final at the 15th IAAF World Championships at the National Stadium in Beijing, China August 22, 2015.        REUTERS/Phil Noble